The wind strength never reached the forecast level which would almost certainly set up a good wave system. Instead pilots were teased with occasional glimpses of wave and rotor.
However, training continued apace with the two seater busy all day. Everyone had a good time trying to find the elusive lift and the best flight of the day was Bob Jones in the Open Cirrus who managed to find what was probably the only thermal of the day.
A good time was had by all at this informal event arranged largely by club member Mike Keller who decided that the club needed an annual dinner and just got on and organised it.
Well done Mike and many thanks.
The intervening time was filled with the usual bronze discussions and housekeeping fueled by tea in the warm clubhouse. The Zugvogel was reassembled after it’s C of A and is now ready for another season – thank you John and David.
|Wave clouds teasing the Zugvogel|
Good news. Richard Williamson, who has experience of gliding with the ATC, completed the first step in his conversion to sport gliding and flew solo for the 1st time as a civilian. Well done
|Richard Williamson on final approach for his first civilian solo.|
|A busy launchpoint with at least one member looking for divine guidence|
Longest flight was just shy of half an hour. Even Trevor in the Jantar1 failed to get away despite flapping his wings furiously (or was it turbulence?) but everyone who wanted to fly had their fill. The sky was littered with lenticulars as we packed the toys away for another day.
Very well done to Andrew Carter who not only went solo today, but also completed his first bronze leg.
|Andrew Carter with CFI Don Puttock|
|Darren Wills looks pleased after his first flight in the K8|
Thanks everyone for making this a great day, and a special thanks to Chris Matten who spent much of his birthday on the winch and also to John Bolt and Dave Bourchier who spent the day wotking on the Zugvogel getting it ready for it's annual inspection.
And Sandra’s view of the day
The weather tested us with strong rotor and wave today with Matthew Wiles achieving the longest flight of the day with 70 minutes in the K6.
|This picture from Matthew Wiles in the K6 at 3000 ft showing some of the wave clouds and a K13 much lower|
Congratulations goes to Andrew Carter for his solo flight in the K13 after only three visits to Brentor, who then went on to get a bronze leg in the wave of 48 minutes. Well done also to Darren Wills who progressed on to the K8. The wave then teased the rest of us, with myself only managing 11 minutes!
It was an enjoyable day with the four aircraft being kept busy all day while those not flying, kept warm by doing various jobs around the club house, making sure the woodburner was kept stoked and plenty of sheep herding.
DI-robics? Jeff Craggs gives the K8 a thorough DI.
|'Fixed price to solo' student Richard Morgan is congratulated by instructor Bob Pirie after going it alone for the first time|
Everyone pitched in splendidly, achieving 37 launches (not bad for January!), and special thanks to those who carried out the pre-C.of A. de-rig of the Zugvogel - without any interruption of flying activities. After sunset - and an equally spectacular rising of the moon over the moor, the customary stoking of the woodburner and ‘abuse’ of the flight simulator took place.
|New temporary member Richard Cooper gets a site briefing from Chris Fagg|
|Moonrise over Dartmoor|
The day took on the new non-flying day format---some briefing, some fun and a little housekeeping.
The briefings covered NOTAMs weather flight limitations and preparation for navigation part 2.
The housekeeping was directed at the principle of first impressions, from the entrance gate to the clubroom---making the club look and feel comfortable.
Thanks everyone for your great efforts here.
Wind, rain and low cloud. A full set.
Bronze training interspersed with chores and crashing the flight simulator were the main activities.
Principles of Flight, met and the bronze C oral test were the subjects---well done Robin who completed the bronze oral test, he is now getting dangerously close to completing that bronze.
Thanks everyone for completing the numerous housekeeping chores, we now have plenty of computer power, Wi-Fi, clean vehicles, more gorse cut back and loads more wood for the fire.
Lets hope this low pressure system moves away soon.
Was the airfield deserted? Not a bit of it. A steady stream of club members arrived at the warm clubhouse; some to work; some to play and some to pass the time.
The simulator was kept busy all day. Phil flew a short cross country out of Brentor. Ged tried ridge soaring the western flanks of Dartmoor (the programme seems a little inaccurate here), Jeff did some local soaring, Bob and I took on the challenge of soaring the anabatic winds in the Slovenian mountains.
It was not all play though, Jeff completed the blackout curtains for the simulator, Ged and Phil changed the clutch master cylinder in one of the Discoveries and Phil, Ged and John adjusted the rudder pedals in the K8. Between the worst of rain, Ged was to be found clearing the drainage channels. Now that's dedication!
Early flights were of limited duration until the wind strengthened slightly and with the suns heating, those lucky enough to be launched found themselves underneath those clouds and finding lift, myself reaching the giddy heights of 2,500 feet and the vario at one point registering 6 knots of climb.
|A good looking cloud street - especially for early January.|
|Looking west along the runway|
As usual hard work and team work from everybody ensured operations ran smoothly and everyone that turned up managed to get a flight.
Even with this disappointment people were not idle. A group was discussing Bronze exam subjects with Mark. “Want to be” lumberjacks Ged and gang were cutting up wood for the stove. Will led a group clearing the stones from the hangar apron which had been deposited by the heavy rain. Jeff purchased and installed a blackout curtain for the simulator. Rick was installing software on the new computer supplied by Colin. I spent some time fixing website bugs. The simulator was kept busy throughout the day.
The simulator was kept busy as usual, but either the damp (or possibly a hit and miss attempt at 'tweaking' by a previous user) contributed to some particularly erratic flights - and spectacular crashes. ( This was fixed later – Steve )
|Ged was persuaded to model his new soaring hat whist flying the simulator|
Meanwhile a number of us discussed the pros and cons of various types of parachute, in preparation for the purchase of two brand new ones for the club via the Sport England grant. It was particularly useful to be able to investigate various possibilities via the newly-installed internet connection in the clubhouse.
There was a feeling among a number of us that (a) that the club was very fortunate to secure such funding (£9,750) in these times of financial stringency (thanks again, Bob Jones), and (b) that we should always make a special effort to ensure that organisations or individuals awarding grants, bursaries and donations to the club and its members should be thanked formally and acknowledged publicly wherever possible.
Whilst many gliding club 'stalwarts' around the UK are still hibernating, a sure sign that spring is on its way was an appearance by Dave Bourchier, who spent the day checking our current stock of parachutes and re-pack dates, repairing the launch cable repair equipment and finally the guillotine mechanism, on the ML winch.
|Dave at work on the winch - I think he could teach the safety officer at thing or two about PPE|
|The K13s are busy|
|Do we need an extra pre-flight check? - A ( are you awake)|
Quite a busy day, welcome to Henry Acton and Richard Williamson who spent the day helping and getting used to field operations. Henry Ford and brother popped in with many other pilots looking for some post Christmas fresh air.
The wave taunted us all day with some valiant attempts at soaring, but little over half an hour locally
|The edge of the wave bar is clearly visible to the east|
Scratch spent the whole day on the winch, thanks very much---that made the day possible.
The low cloudbase with 8/8 coverage, misty conditions and a light northerly wind did not promise much. The pilots made good use of the day though with everyone maintaining their currency. Bob and Steve continued with their instructor training with CFI Don; Cable breaks, stalls and steep turns today.
Junior pilot Matthew Wiles continued his meteoric progress. He soloed on his 16th birthday on the December 7th. Since then he has completed lots of solo flights, achieved 2 bronze soaring legs, converted from the K13 to the K8 and, today he converted to the K6.
|Superman? I don't think so --- Just an excited Matthew after flying the K6|
Thanks to Rick Wiles for lots of winching today and also for working on the second club computer and the wireless modem/router. The club now offers the use of wireless broadband to the those club members who use laptops, netbooks or smartphones on the airfield.